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Twin Cities, Ep. 5

October 20, 2011 — In an epic confrontation in the land of 10,000 lakes (though we only counted 15 from our plane window), the Nomad World Pub played house to one of the most electrifying comeback victories in LDM history as winner Peter Bognanni overcame a 5-1 "Cyrillic-Off" deficit to storm to a 8-6 win over brilliant co-finalist Cole “Inky” Sarar, winning him the Literary Death Match crown. 

But before the first Serbian-inspired lettering was shown, the night started off with LDM100 Twin Cities champ Maggie Ryan Sandford introducing novelist/critic/humorist Rob Callahan (author of Damaged Goods and Hellbound Snowballs), who read a hipster-specific tale that had fans on their feet. Then up next was Bognanni (author of The House of Tomorrow) who stole the show from second one, telling a tale of a broken marriage brought back together via swordplay. 

The mic was then turned over to the night's trio of all-star judges: sharp-witted author Neil Karlen, singer/producer/writer Leslie Ball (founder and curator of BALLS Cabaret), and painter Nic Harper (owner/director of the Rogue Buddha Gallery). The three took turns complimenting Callahan's work and humor front to back, but it was Bognanni that they couldn't resist in the end, advancing him on as the night's first finalist. 

After a drink-fueled intermission, Round 2 saw poetry-slam extraordinaire Sarar (creator of Minnesota Microphone) going up against Becky Lang (creator of pop-culture creative writing site The Tangential). Lang led off with a story that had the audience on the edge of their shoe soles (most were standing, waving Courtney Algeo-supplied pennants that read "Lang"). Then up stepped Sarar, who captivated with a series of work that left the audience's collective jaw hanging, even ending with a quiet gasp of air-release to emphasize the wonderment. 

Again the mic was on to the judges, and after they effusively praised both readers, they opted for Sarar by a fraction of a fraction of a percent. 

For the finale, LDM creator Todd Zuniga called Bognanni and Sarar to the stage, paired them with volunteers from the crowd, and then showed them 15 different pictures of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors written in Cyrillic lettering. After Team Sarar jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead, Team Bognanni turned it on like a literary Usain Bolt, breaking past Team Sarar, and finishing the game by a score of 8-6, winning Bognanni the Literary Death Match crown, and literary immortality with it. 

Produced by Sarah Moeding

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